, which reposted from Orcinus
: The President has just issued this, titled 'Executive Order: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq'
You, who is reading this: if you are in America, and you do not believe that the war in Iraq is succeeding, you should be terrified.
I will not quote the whole text - it's legalese, and dense - but here's some of the crucial bits to explain myself.
First, the declaration of motive.
I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, find that, due to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by acts of violence threatening the peace and stability of Iraq and undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq and to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people, it is in the interests of the United States to take additional steps [...]
A declaration that acts against Iraq are extraordinary
threats to the United States
could, in a newspaper article, be excused as an ill-thought overstatement. In an executive order, it suggests either (a) that the chief executive lacks connection to reality or (b) that he is exaggerating to justify the measures he proposes. I leave it as an exercise to the reader to determine which is worse.
Second, the penalty.
(a) Except to the extent provided in section 203(b)(1), (3), and (4) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(1), (3), and (4)), or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the date of this order, all property and interests in property of the following persons, that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of United States persons, are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in[.]
This one is pretty clear: if you are named by this act, all your possessions are frozen. Credit cards? Bank accounts? Pocket change? You are here banned from using them.
Third, the targets.
any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense,
(i) to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of:
(A) threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq; or
(B) undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people;
(ii) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, logistical, or technical support for, or goods or services in support of, such an act or acts of violence or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or
(iii) to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.
(b) The prohibitions in subsection (a) of this section include, but are not limited to, (i) the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order, and (ii) the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person. (emphases added)
You notice I highlighted two bits. The former I'll get to in a second. The latter ... well, any resemblance to Article 58-11
is surely coincidental.
But that's a low blow. Ignore it. Read the first one.
Now, what constitutes undermining efforts
sounds simple, exact, but how can you be sure that any particular act is not undermining
something? And how can you be sure that the government isn't being ... overenthusiastic in its prosecution of the law
One last note:
Sec. 5. For those persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order who might have a constitutional presence in the United States, I find that, because of the ability to transfer funds or other assets instantaneously, prior notice to such persons of measures to be taken pursuant to this order would render these measures ineffectual. I therefore determine that for these measures to be effective in addressing the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13303 and expanded in Executive Order 13315, there need be no prior notice of a listing or determination made pursuant to section 1(a) of this order. (emphasis added)
In light of which, I leave you with a reminder of the words of William Rivers Pitt, from last September
Insofar as I can tell, executive orders are, in fact, susceptible to overturning in two ways. First, by the passage of a bill by Congress specifying the law more exactly – legislation overrules executive orders. (Yes, they'll probably need a two-thirds majority.) Second, by a court ruling that states the order is unconstitutional. (Which has only happened twice in history.) While some claim that an executive order only becomes law if Congress does not overturn it within 30 days
, I have seen no official source verifying that.